Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I Haven't Been Saying

Meerkat Family Breakfast
Privacy and blogs don't play well together. But I think the time is right to share. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a bleak confessional thing. Not my bag.

You see, HA and I want to be parents, so a couple of years ago, we threw the birth control out the window. Figuratively, of course. We lived on the 7th floor and had no desire to kill anyone will falling contraceptives.

We told a couple of friends, but not family. Not how other people arrange it, but we didn't want anyone to get excited too soon. It's bad enough caring whether Aunt Flo is going to visit this month without your parents taking an interest in it.

What they don't tell you about trying to get pregnant is that your doctor will tell you to stop taking any medicine that could cause birth defects as soon as possible so you're not taking any chances. Since you weren't taking that medicine for shits and giggles, this is an issue. (Not for all meds, of course. Schizophrenia meds, for example, are worth the risk to the baby. But migraines, allergies and acid reflux? Suck it up future mama.)

Hector the Migraine Fairy moved in around this time thanks to the lack of medicines. It didn't help that the lemon juice I was drinking for my acid reflux turns out to be a migraine trigger. Even once I quit the lemon juice, 1-2 days out of every 3 involved a migraine.

16 months into this grand experiment, I couldn't take it anymore. The pointless lack of medicine and frequent migraines, I mean. I wasn't that hung up on my inability to get pregnant. I'm from a large extended family--the 5th oldest of 17 first cousins, so I'm not particularly impressed by the ability to get pregnant. One of us was bound to be infertile--it's Mother Nature's population control, and my family has no interest in outnumbering the Duggars. Not to dismiss other people's feelings and experiences, but it really doesn't bother me.

We went into it knowing that it might not work. The plan was to try for a while, then adopt through the foster system.

Which is what we're doing. The process is taking as long as infertility treatments (or newborn adoption) would, but without me having to inject myself with hormones and the high price tag. And the baby-induced interrupted sleep--yet another one of my migraine triggers.

Most people have questions about the process, which I'll discuss in another post, since this one is getting too long. As we've gone through all the steps, and learned all we can, I've realized that I'm far better equipped to deal with a kid with emotional problems than a baby who doesn't sleep through the night. Every time I see someone struggling with a stroller on the subway, I feel such relief that I get to skip that.

People tend to react to this news like we're applying for sainthood. Yes, we'll be helping a kid heal from the trauma inflicted on them by someone else. But that's not any bigger or better than what parents do when they raise a kid from birth (and screw them up themselves). The diaper changing, the potty training, the stooping over to hold the kid's hand as they learn to walk, the helping them climb up and down stairs over and over and over again, the reading Goodnight Moon for the 3,427th time, putting up with the tantrums, the refusal to eat, the insistence on staying awake despite the fatigue-induced crankiness. The enduring all this without abandoning the child to the wild like any sensible mammal would do. (You think a meerkat mamma would put up with a little meerkat who wouldn't eat his bugs? More bugs for meerkat mamma is what that is.)

Raising kids isn't easy no matter how you get into it.


  1. My niece became a mom at age 40....her child...16. He had a craptastic life and to say he didn't trust anyone would be mild. He is now 24, has a good job, is engaged, and loves his mom. Was it easy? Hardly. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

  2. Good for you! Each year our town's community center has an exhibit--portraits of kids and teens who need a home. I always know by the photo and personality description which kid(s) I would take if I could. I hope someday it will be an optioin for me, because it's so heartbreaking to see their faces. I wish you guys well!

  3. Good on you. And, trust me, missing the early baby years is the ideal way to do it....


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